But is it French?

9 Feb


Nestor, our “Tours for Tips” Chilean guide, took us by the Hall of Justice. In front is a statue of justice given to the city of Valparaiso by an exiled Englishman. Here is the story…

In the heyday of Valparaiso there was a married judge and also an Englishman who lived in the city. In the course of events, the Englishman had an affair with the judge’s wife. To retaliate the cuckolded judge sought revenge by trumping up charges against the lover. To avoid prosecution the Englishman fled Valparaiso never to return.

Later to seek his own revenge for being exiled, the Englishman commissioned a bronze statue of Lady Justice from sculptor in France, where the very best statues were created. But this statue had a number of unique features. Normally, Lady Justice is blindfolded holding up a set of scales. In this statue she had no blind fold. The scales that she traditionally held out were folded next to her side. Rather than a stately pose, she had her hip cocked with a haughty gaze. And instead of a cross inserted in her belt, the cross was upside down at her side imparting a dark religious denotation.

Now, the people of Valparaiso were never ones to reject a French bronze statue, so they immediately gave it an honored place in front of the Supreme Court of the city. Almost thirty years later someone noted the discrepancies in the statue. The city was embarrassed. An explanation was needed for their thirty-year lapse in awareness.

The explanation? Lady Justice was outside of the court and represented “Street Justice.” But inside the building all of the traditional aspects of justice were righteously pursued.

Nestor’s side note; Valparaiso loves their statues. And here are a selection of just a few of them.














And some statues are more alive than others. This one did a little dance with me.




Today there are other ways to celebrate the cultures’ heroes. We saw a street artist chalking this on the sidewalk in Plaza Ecuador.


One Response to “But is it French?”


  1. Santiago, Chile » Valparaiso, Chile: A Bus Ride & A Free Walking Tour [Day 55] – Wandering Martindales - January 24, 2017

    […] at you with eyes wide open. (For the full story of how this statue came to be check out this blog.) On Prat we saw “El Mercurio” building, the oldest newspaper in Chile still in operation. From […]

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